". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter's Discontents

At Daily Kos:

"The word clouds show the contrast between their two approaches. They both recognized Saturday's shooting for the tragedy that it was, but the clear emphasis of President Obama's word choice was on focusing on the victims and that which unites us as a nation, whereas ... [the other's] ... focused on her grievances and what drives our country apart."
Am so deeply depressed by the same old same old responses to the AZ terrorism event from the same old same olds. More civility, blahblahblah, doesn't know what blood libel really is, blahblahblah, the left is blaming us for what the left itself did and is responsible for, blahblahblah, he read hitler who is a leftist, blahblahblah, buy me SOME MORE GUNS, blahblahblah.

Yesterday I ventured upon the frozen streets. Out of nowhere got ambushed by an elderly fellow ambling across Cannon, who tells me, "I don't like this country anymore. I'm leaving. I was in Vietnam, I was a medic, and nothing we fought for is in this country anymore. I'm moving to New Zealand where I have kin. They've got better health care there too," he said.

I asked him if was having trouble with his medical bills. "Veterans take care of all that and I got medicare, my veterans' pension, social security and my other pension."

Politely, I asked, "This isn't a challenge or disagreement or anything like that, but I'm interested in what you think. Can you tell me, in one sentence, the most important reason you want to leave the United States?"

He looked confused. He verbally fumbled for a minute. Finally, he got out, "The illegals."

I asked him why the illegals bothered him so much.

"The Mexicans take away our jobs and get everything for free." I asked him where he'd seen this going on in Kent County.  "They have babies," he said.

I asked him who his ancestors were. "They were Americans who came here in the nineteenth century from Ireland."

I asked him if what had happened in AZ was a part of why he felt the U.S. was somewhere he couldn't live anymore

"Not at all. I don't care about that. I mean, I'm sorry that woman, lady, girl, whatever, got shot, but that has nothing to do with how bad our country is." Then he informed me the shooter was an illegal Mexican. And the shooter last year at Fort Dix was "a foreigner from somewhere who invaded the base."

After that I came back to the House and put on the Vampire Diaries, because, well, I felt like slitting my wrists.


K. said...

And he wants to be an immigrant himself?

A friend lives in NZ. He says he's never coming back. Although he doesn't like the health care system much!

My family came over from Ireland in the 1870s. The argument from other Irish-Americans that their ancestors arrived "legally" amuses me to no end. If Ireland were contiguous to the US and the Great Hunger had not struck here, the Irish would have flowed across the border in droves, legal or not.

And, the Irish who came here were regarded as second-class citizens, lesser beings. We should have more empathy.

Foxessa said...

Also, NZ has very strict rules for immigration.

One thinks he would be denied on several grounds, maybe even his age. But as he has 'kin' there, he says, maybe he would be seen as being taken care of by them if necessary.

Love, c.